Medicine has evolved in recent years with an increasing focus on a holistic approach to looking after patients. Functional medicine looks at why illness occurs rather than just treating the symptoms and aims to restore health by addressing these root causes. The functional medicine approach is to consider each patient’s genetic and individual lifestyle factors to deliver a personalised, patient-centred approach to your health. Functional medicine restores and generates health, whereas traditional medicine manages disease. Both have their role and only both together will deliver optimal healthcare.
‘Functional medicine is health-orientated rather than focusing purely on the disease.’
A traditional interaction between practitioner and patient is to treat the symptoms that occur after a disease is discovered. Functional medicine aims to treat the root causes of a disease. As a result, functional medicine aims to restore health by allowing your body to heal.
‘Functional medicine treats the whole body.’
Conventional medicine is separated into different disciplines and so patients are often referred to a practitioner that will only focus on one specific body system or organ. Functional medicine looks at the body holistically, as one condition may have many different causes. Similarly, one root cause can then manifest itself in many different conditions.
‘Functional medicine is personalised.’
Conventional medicine is based on diagnosis of a disease and the formulation of a treatment plan involving medication or surgical intervention to manage the symptoms.
Functional medicine recognises that patients have an individual genetic and physiological composition and unique external stressors that affects their health.
It is also more collaborative as the patient is encouraged to play an active role in their treatment plan to eliminate or decrease present and future health concerns.